There are few more reliable Republican magazines than the National Review. Which is why it was refreshing to read NR columnist, Michael Doherty's take on the Mango Mussolini's antics in Iraq.
...since the news of this assassination broke, the president has sounded out of his mind.
He has returned to his idea of vandalism, blasphemy, and outrage as strategy. Contradicting his own secretary of state, Trump promised that the United States would respond to further Iranian provocation by deliberately bombing cultural sites in Iran. “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
This disgusting threat is in many ways worse than his promises of “fire and fury” in North Korea. The punishment would fall not on the government, or on the military that tortures and maims, but on the whole Iranian people — and really all of humanity that has an interest in the preservation of great treasures of antiquity, of which there are many in Iran. These are jewels of ancient civilization that ought to outlast Iran’s current government, and that deserve a better custodian than the mullahs. That aside, the threat carries zero strategic value for us while offering infinite propaganda value for the Iranian regime.'Disgusting, unhinged rhetoric'. Sure. Trump sounding 'out of his mind.' Why not? That's the sort of thing you might expect from the mainstream media, or leftist outfits like MSNBC. Only this is the National Review. It's true of course, all of it. Trump has mentally deteriorated over the past two years. He's become a genuine nutjob. Captain Queeg of the Oval Office. Even the National Review can't ignore the path their president is taking America down.
Trump wasn’t done. “These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” the president tweeted. In this, he reveals he has heard about language of proportionality but doesn’t understand its place in just-war theory. Proportionality is not about returning an equal or ever-so-slightly more forceful slap to someone who slapped you. Proportionality is about using the appropriate amount of force to achieve the desired end.
This unhinged rhetoric is not just dangerous in itself, it’s unproductive. NATO members put out statements supporting America’s decision to strike at Soleimani, statements that read as if a stage director had scrawled the word “cringe” in the margins. They are tempered precisely because the publics of our various European allies find Trump’s rhetoric crazy, and unlike Americans, they are not inclined to lower their standards of sanity to accommodate his. They may also remember that the last two expansions of American hostilities in the Middle East created the refugee crisis and a wave of terrorism headed their way.